Thursday, March 19, 2015

SOME DATA FOR YOU from Editor Deb Werksman

Here’s some interesting data about mass market paperback romance fiction sales at major non-bookstore retailers in 2014. These guys move a lot of units, btw, tens of millions every year. 

  • Contemporary Romance is the largest subgenre right now 
  • Romantic Suspense is going strong, with the biggest gain of any subgenre
  • Historical Romance is up 
  • Paranormal is up slightly
  • Erotica is a very small part of the market
  • Amish romance is booming!
  •  The top 20 authors are up significantly
  • Movie tie-ins are the biggest winners (Nicholas Sparks is considered a romance author here)
  • Promotions that help readers find new authors based on authors they already like are very successful

Lots to ponder here…here are some of my personal conclusions:
  • It looks to me as though the subgenres are cycling much faster than they used to
  • As the economy is stabilizing, people are happier to read contemporary romance—they can escape even into the world of today, and they like to see a contemporary world where people are working out their differences and coming to a HEA
  • Romantic suspense and mystery share similarities in reader demographic, and this is a robust subgenre that likely will never tank
  • It’s nice to see Historical up—it was in a downturn for a while there, but there will always be an audience, IMHO
  • Also nice to see paranormal up—I attribute this to really imaginative authors creating great stories with paranormal elements like shapeshifters and dragons
  • Romance readers love to immerse in new worlds, be they paranormal, contemporary, or Amish
  • Discovery is and will be a key concern for some time to come


  1. Historical romance is up! Good news, Deb. Thanks. :)

  2. I enjoy hearing the statistics. Historical was never down for me lol. And contemporary still hasn't grabbed me but I keep trying. After historical I like suspense, paranormal, mysteries and some horror. Normally I don't read both ends of the spectrum such as erotica or inspirational but I never rule any book out!